Elizabeth Doney Havre Daily News firstname.lastname@example.org
Havre has seen a drop in gas prices that went higher than $3 a gallon last year at this time. Local convenience stores and gas retailers have kept their prices competitive at a low $1.99 in Havre. Among a few of the stores, Stromberg’s Sinclair, Town Pump and Holiday are reflecting the $1.99 price. Town Pump of Great Falls has a lower price of $1.96 a gallon. “Our price is at $1.99 the cost is down, therefore, the price is down. It’s that simple,” said Howie Stromberg of Stromberg Sinclair, local gas retailer. Gasoline prices are actually reflected by the supply price purchased from wholesale refiners. The refiners are the ones who set the price of gas which they sell to retailers who add federal and state tax which combines to almost 50 cents a gallon. Retailers also pay freight to haul their product, more than 6 cents a gallon and credit card fees which are another 6 cents a gallon. It is estimated that about 75 percent of gasoline purchases are made from credit cards. “We are very happy to see these lower prices. I am hoping that they continue to drop. If the refineries keep lowering the price, we’ll keep lowering it,” Jim Kenneally, supply and distribution manager for Town Pump Stores out of Butte, said today. “We’re very competitive. Gasoline retailers, just like consumers, don’t like high prices because it takes more operating cash flow. When the price goes up, the freight surcharges and credit card fees go up. It’s just higher overhead we get hurt with a higher price gasoline.” Connacher Oil, located in Alberta, Canada is the parent company of Montana Refinery Company in Great Falls which supplies gasoline to Town Pump Stores, among others. Montana Refinery Co. Is one of Montana’s wholesale gas distributors. Connacher purchased MT Refinery Co. From Holly out of Dallas, Texas, last March. Connacher produces heavy oil from oil sands and is currently selling their barrels at $53.65 which is a increase of $1.05. A barrel of gasoline is actually 42 gallons. This price is derived from NYMEX, a commodity exchange in New York which includes gasoline, heating fuel and other fuels. The gasoline market is constantly going up and down depending on who is buying or selling. Many people’s price for selling fuel is linked to the NYMEX fuel price that tells what’s happening Across the United States. Cameron Todd, vice president of Connacher Oil, explained the crude oil pricing. “First of all, from our company we sell wholesale gas,” Todd said. “What happens at the pump is not something that we are not directly connected to. Normally we expect to see gas drop as the cost of crude oil drops. It’s very dependent on the market. The general direction of gas prices, reflects that crude oil costs are going doing and the competitive prices on the NYMEX is going down.” According to Todd, gas prices change every day depending on the market. Current NYMEX prices will reflect the next month’s retail gasoline prices. According to autos.msn.com the current retail national average gas price is $2.14, with the lowest being $1.60 in Minnesota and the highest at $3.47 in Hawaii. “Crude oil is on its way back up,” Kenneally said. “The NYMEX on diesel is up 3 cents a gallon and gasoline is up 4 cents a gallon. For every $1 of barrel that crude moves, it has an effect of about 3 cents on the street.” Kenneally said some ways people can save on their gas prices include keeping their tires properly inflated, oil changed and the engine tuned up. More money saving techniques are available on autos.msn.com’s Web site, which also shows national and area gas prices.